If You’re Not Doing The Kettle bell Swing, You’re Destined To Stay Fat, Tight & Weak For The Rest Of Your Life! This overuse of the muscles on the front side of our bodies is called “anterior dominance” and it is plaguing our society.
FrequencyExercise TypeIntensityRepetitionsRest up to 7x per week strength training high intensity varies by workout varies by workout Once labelled “hard core”, kettle bells are now popping up in every gym, garage and backyard because of their portability and reputation for fast results. Go into any gym and you’ll see inexperienced exercisers turning a swing into a front squat and shoulder raise exercise further tightening our hips, quads, chest and shoulders and just adding to the anterior dominance issue that I told you about above.
Always making sure your shoulders stay above the level of your hips, “hike pass” the kettle bell through your knees by contracting your lats. When you push your hips back keeping your butt high and your shins vertical, you are hinging.
This is good because most people today are hip flexor and quad dominant (your anterior muscles), so learning how to load and use your posterior chain creates a natural balance between front and back that will help in preventing knee and hip issues. Imagine that you are growing roots through your feet and grab the ground with your entire foot.
Getting proper instruction from an expert so that you can MASTER THE KETTLEBELL SWING is the best thing that you can do for your training regardless of your goal. If you want to build strength, kettlebellswings will forge a grip of steel and will add pounds to your dead lift & squat.
If you want to boost your athleticism, kettlebellswings will make you more powerful and add height to your jump and shave seconds off your sprints. If you want to pack on muscle, swinging a heavy kettle bell will build an intimidating upper back & set of shoulders.
And if you want to shed body fat, swings will incinerate blubber like butter melting in an iron pan. It’s an explosive and natural expression of hip extension, a key portion of your vertical leap and your sprinter’s stride, too.
You stand grasping a kettle bell with both hands, core tight, toes pointed ever-so-slightly outward, knees slightly bent. From there, you push your butt back slightly and hinge at the waist, letting momentum take the kettle bell behind your thighs.
Momentum carries the kettle bell upwards and in front of you, and your arms drive forward, typically until they’re parallel to the ground, in the process. In practice, the American swing frequently takes the emphasis off your mammies and glutes, and average gym-goers over-involve muscles that aren't meant for the job, such as the shoulders and lower back.
In general, you always want to choose exercises that minimize risk and maximize the benefits that’ll push you to your goals. You should evaluate all exercises this way (and not be afraid to question your group fitness trainer either -- it’s their job to answer you).
American swing fans have two key arguments that fail to account for the way the general population actually moves. It’s a demonstration of true shoulder flexion at the top of each rep, that your mid- and upper-back muscles will fire.
In this way, it’s a total body exercise, and superior and more “complete” than the Russian kettle bell swing. So that means, by default, they’re destined to perform the American swing incorrectly (and I've seen “fit” folks wreck this move, too).
Targeting muscles is important, even if “all-workouts-should-be-total-body” nation doesn't understand that, because it's a key method of correcting weaknesses in both your mechanics and your physique. Quick test: Lie with your belly on the ground, arms and legs long in front of you.
The basic swing lets you move a fairly heavy weight, since it relies on two of your body’s most powerful muscle groups, the legs and glutes, to generate the majority of the force. If those muscle groups can’t power the bell to the dumb American standard, the shoulders and lower back do the brunt of the extra work -- except they’re not meant to move the same load as the glutes and mammies.
So the shoulder muscles and smaller upper-body stabilizers take over that large load. The American swing crowd might contend that this isn’t all that different from a snatch anyway, hamstrings and glutes firing.
Thing is, both the barbell and single-arm snatch versions let you drive weights overhead while rotating and spreading your shoulders more freely to create joint space for your rotator cuff tendons. That can’t happen when both hands are grasping a kettle bell handle with a close grip.
Really think and focus on the American kettle bell swing, be super-controlled and mindful of your whole body, and you have your best shot. They rely on high rep loads, and, eventually, fatigue piles on.
Station-to-station randomness makes things worse: if the American swing’s your first move, your mind and your shoulder blades aren’t fatigued. You could go “lighter” on the weight with the American swing, both in a class setting and in your own workouts, focusing on form.
Except then, your hamstrings and glutes, the targets of the classic swing, simply don’t get to move as much weight. Unless you compete in CrossFit (where the American swing sometimes shows up in competition), the wildest part about the stupidity of the American kettle bell swing is that there’s a much simpler way to achieve the super-aggressive hip extension and explosive glute contraction that it is supposed to bring.
There’s a smarter, less injury-inducing way to push your glutes and hamstrings to “pop” more than they do on your average Russian swing. Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S., is the fitness director of Men's Health and a certified trainer with more than 10 years of training experience.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. But, in the last decade or so, they’ve seen a resurgence in popularity, not least because they are a part of so many CrossFit workouts.
Of all the exercises you can do with a kettle bell, the swing is arguably the most popular and may even be the most valuable. Many fitness enthusiasts believe that squats and dead lifts are the kings of exercise.
But Tim Ferris says “the two armed kettle bell swing is the king and is all you need for dramatic body recomposition results”. This post will reveal the main kettle bell swing benefits and how to do them correctly.
It takes time to master the kettle bell swing, but once you’ve got it nailed, this exercise has a wide range of benefits. These muscles are crucial for better posture, as well as improved sports performance.
Increased cardiovascular fitness Kettle bell swing training is excellent for your heart and lungs, as well as your muscles. Because they are a full-body movement, kettlebellswings will drive your heart and breathing rate sky-high, which makes them a beneficial and challenging cardiovascular exercise.
Better posture Kettlebellswings are one of the best exercises for undoing the effects of prolonged sitting. Swings work your posterior chain, which are the muscles responsible for holding you upright against the pull of gravity.
Because kettlebellswings involve so many muscles and joints working together and at the same time, there’s a lot that can go wrong with this exercise. But, if you master a proper kettle bell swing, you can enjoy all the benefits this exercise has to offer while avoiding all the risks.
Standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, pull your shoulders down and back, and brace your abs. Focus on your hip drive to pop the kettle bell upwards, not your arms.
Use your lats and abs to stop the weight swinging upward and then let the kettle bell fall back down. Russian kettlebellswings generally allow you to lift more weight, and they are easier to learn.
However, it’s all too easy to inadvertently shorten your rep range by not swinging the weight high enough, i.e., below shoulder-height. They involve a more extensive range of motion, which could make them more demanding.
Swinging the weight up until the arms are vertical ensures that each rep is the same, making them easier to judge and quantify. However, raising the weight so high will increase stress on the lower back, which could lead to injury.
The increased range of movement also means you won’t be able to lift as much weight. But, unless you are training for CrossFit competitions, the Russian swing is potentially the safer one, which may mean it’s the best choice for most exercisers.
As recommended by the American Council on Exercise, ACE for short, this kettle bell workout is best done three times a week on non-consecutive days, e.g., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. With this workout, you do a set of kettlebellswings at the start of each minute, and whatever time is left over is for resting.
You can also use any kettle bell swing alternative you prefer for this workout, including: *Note: kettle bells are popular home workout gear, and some items are not yet back in stock, so you might need to be preordered.
AmazonBasics Vinyl Coated Cast Iron Kettle bell Weight With the Noose Fitness Kettle bell Handle, you can add as many or as few standard weight plates as you like, making it both ideal for a range of users and also saving you from buying several sets of kettle bells.
Whether you want to burn fat, get fit, or boost your dead lift performance, kettlebellswings will help. Remember, to get the most from this exercise; you need to do them correctly and give yourself time to recover between workouts.
The kettle bell swing is an incredible exercise, but it's also quite polarizing, as strength coaches seem to either love it or hate it. I've spoken to coaches in America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and I always get the same two opinions.
“I love the kettle bell swing, it's a great tool for teaching proper hip movement and for conditioning the glutes and hamstrings.” “The kettle bell swing sounds good in theory, but my athletes need heavier loads to induce adaptations.
What the coaches with the latter opinion fail to realize is that the hip extension torque requirements of a lighter kettle bell swing can indeed match that of a heavier clean or snatch, due to the inherent arced motion of the kettle bell. You must absorb eccentric loading and then reverse the kettle bell forward and upward, whereas in the case of the Olympic pulls you simply accelerate the barbell upward and then catch it up top.
I'm sure the ROC folks have scrutinized every last detail about the swing and have come up with the best possible way of teaching it. And since I'm not RKC-certified, I'm not quite as qualified as those folks to discuss kettle bell swing form.
On the way up, an explosive hip action characterized by a strong gluteal contraction raises the kettle upwards and the lifter shifts his weight backward a bit. While the kettle bell is near the body, it stays close to the “privates” and never sinks below the knees.
A neutral spine (no lumbar flexion at the bottom or hyper extension at the top of the movement) position is maintained with very slight anterior pelvic tilt at the bottom of the motion and very slight posterior pelvic tilt at the top. The posterior pelvic tilt and glute contraction is maintained while the kettle bell travels upward and away from the body and is held until the kettle bell drops back down and returns near the body.
There's no excessive contribution from the arms; for the most part the hips drive the kettle bell to its peak height, which is around shoulder-level. A neutral neck position (no cervical hyper extension) is maintained throughout the movement.
They don't possess the motor control to stabilize the spine while moving solely around the hip joint. With these clients, you must improve their movement patterns before loading them up, so patience is needed.
But I know how to use my glutes properly (from 6 years of hip thrusting) and therefore I fire them like crazy during the swing. I've found that it's easy to swing 70 pounds with perfect form, but when you go heavier, it's a different story.
Eventually I'll make the 203-pounder look right, but in the meantime it still provides an amazing training stimulus. I'm not nearly as eloquent as Marianne, but nevertheless I've found that the transfer to dead lifting is incredible as long as you go heavy.
Best still, heavy swings don't destroy the body like maximal dead lifts do, so you can train them more frequently. In fact, you can put dead lifts on the back burner for a while and maintain your strength by doing heavy ass swings 2-3 times per week.
Inherent Ground Reaction Forces Involved in 2 Styles of KettlebellSwings When I was in Auckland, New Zealand, I conducted a minor experiment. Styled (lbs)Peak Vertical Force (N)Peak Horizontal Force (N)Squat Style702,170-2,349166-182Squat Style1402,431-2,444278-353Hip Hinge Style701,935-2,140340-402Hip Hinge Style1402,325-2,550499-520 Heavy Hip Dominant Swings, Horizontal Force Production, and Sprint Speed As you can see by the chart, the hip-hinge style swing generates much more horizontal forces than the squat style swing due to the more aggressive hip action.
Elite sprinters are able to generate large amounts of net horizontal force at high velocities, and faster speeds are all about the hips, so it's logical to assume that rapid, forceful kettlebellswings done in an Restyle fashion would help sprinters attain greater speeds. In fact, the 140-pound swing (I needed to hold onto two 70-pounders to use this load) leads to similar levels of horizontal force than those seen during maximal sprinting by elite sprinters.
Two excellent studies have been published on muscle activation during the kettle bell swing. I wish Stu would've reported the compressive and shear forces on the spine during Pavel's swings as this would be interesting to know.
The average spinal loading was reported for the other participants and values were very high considering the weight of the kettle bells. One good thing I've noticed over the last year is that we're seeing a huge influx of kettle bell studies in the literature.
Interestingly, a recent study published ahead of print by Lake & Lauder used up to 70 pounds and this is one of the best studies I've seen to date (it showed that swings elicited a greater impulse than squats or jump squats), but this is the exception, not the norm. I want to see training studies using heavy-ass kettle bells to see their transference to athletic performance.
I realize that lighter kettle bells are common because people want to clean them, snatch them, press them, and do Turkish get-ups with them. And initially, lighter kettle bell loads are warranted in the swing.
I know most gyms and athletic facilities don't carry heavy-ass kettle bells, so I'm calling for action here! At the end of this article I'll provide several options that allow for heavy swinging.
(8) It's actually a quote from two legends in our field, Yuri Verkoshansky and Mel Sight. The pelvis plays a vital role in the ability of the athlete to produce strength efficiently and safely, because it is the major link between the spinal column and the lower extremities a neutral pelvic tilt offers the least stressful position for sitting, standing and walking.
It is only when a load (or body mass) is lifted or resisted those other types of pelvic tilt become necessary. Even then, only sufficient tilt is used to prevent excessive spinal flexion or extension The posterior pelvic tilt is the appropriate pelvic rotation for sit-ups or lifting objects above waist level.
However, there are indeed folks who might experience back pain or discomfort with swings. Nevertheless, if you do experience pain or discomfort in the swing, make sure you swivel at the hips and keep the core and glutes tight.
One interesting gem I learned from Stu in a recent lecture was that the very top portion of the swing, where the kettle bell reaches its apex, poses the greatest risk to the spine. (9) At this moment, the core musculature relaxes and therefore compressive force diminishes.
Heavy Swings A Permanent Replacement for Dynamic Effort Dead lifts? And third, there's a greater acceleration phase with the swing as it's really a ballistic movement; by law the dynamic dead lift must decelerate to come to a halt.
My 106-pounder is from APOLLO, which I bought at a local fitness store, and my 203-pounder is from Adler, which I found on eBay. If you have the money, you should definitely go this route and buy the actual heavy kettle bells as they simply feel the best, but the Hungarian Core Blaster works very well too, as does the KettleClamp.
And with that, I shall wrap up this article that's ostensibly every damn thing you wanted to know about heavy kettle bell swinging. I hope you decide to take my advice and start implementing heavy swings, if so you'll thank me down the road.
Morin JB, Édouard P, Amino P. Technical ability of force application as a determinant factor of sprint performance. Zebus MK, Scott J, Andersen CH, Mortensen P, Petersen MH, Visor TC, Jensen TL, Hence J, Andersen LL.
(I received an advanced copy) McGill S and Lebanon C. From the Lab to the Trenches. Blood and Chalk Volume 4: Jim Gender Talks Big Weights.
When you get right down to it, swings and get-ups are EXCELLENT exercises, but only doing them is massively shortsighted. With kettle bell training there is a tendency to have a hyper-focus on kettle bell -specific exercises, while disregarding tried and true basic truths of general strength and athleticism training.
Learning to categorize exercises is an important skill when it comes to programming training sessions. The meat and potatoes of movements are: Mobility* *These areas are most critical for improved posture relative to our sitting-in-a-chair dominant culture.
Repeat 5 times By adding these extra movements and dialing back on the swings and get-ups, you are going to have a much more well-rounded training session. No extra time investment, just smarter planning and more bang for your buck.
Master ROC Instructor Max Shank is the owner of Ambition Athletics in Engines, California. He is very active in martial arts, competes in the Highland Games, and promotes a holistic approach to overall fitness.
Kettle bells are uniquely capable of helping you lose weight, and boost aerobic capacity, apart from increasing strength. To take advantage of this valuable exercise device, you can try out the 100 kettlebellswings a day weight loss program.
Without proper form, a kettle bell swing workout may cause more harm than good. This is particularly important since you’ll adapt a bent-over posture during specific phases of the workout.
To initiate the forward swing, push your hips up in a forceful motion. If you don’t have anyone nearby, you can record yourself with a camera during the workout to check for poor form.
In the study, participants experienced increases in both maximum and explosive strength from kettle bell workouts. Although the study didn’t involve daily workouts, it’s a useful indicator of the potential benefits to your lower body strength.
An interesting aspect of kettlebellswings is they promote positive hormonal responses, which enhances body-fat-burning. Researchers from the University of North Texas performed a study to verify this.
Their research showed significant increases in growth hormone and testosterone levels (10). The participants did only 12 sets of kettlebellswings involving 30-second workouts with 30-second rest periods, and they only used 35-pound (15.8 kg) bells.
Once you determine the exact calories you expect to burn, you will know how well to complement the 100 kettlebellswings a day fat loss program with an appropriate diet plan. In the study, 10 men and women aged 29-46 years performed 20-minute-long kettle bell workouts.
Shutterstock However, the actual number of calories you can expect to burn will vary dramatically based on multiple factors, including: Your body weight: Heavier people typically burn more calories.
Your age : Younger people may have more muscle mass, which gives them the capacity to burn more calories. Your gender : Men tend to have higher metabolism levels compared to women.
Your lean body mass : If you have more muscles, you’ll likely burn more calories. As you can see, the specific calorie burn can vary immensely due to variations in all these factors.
Therefore, a useful strategy to figure out your specific calorie burn is to measure it when doing the workout. You can use a heart rate monitor to get a more accurate estimate of your calorie burn.
This is because the kettle bell swing is an all-round fitness workout, much like a cross between circuit weight training and running. Fortunately, kettlebellswings also improve your aerobic capacity, as well as your dynamic balance and core strength.
In the study, researchers tested and found a significant boost in the VO2max (maximum rate of oxygen consumption) of 18 volunteers. The National Research Center for the Working Environment in Denmark performed a study to uncover this benefit (4).
Researchers found that the workouts help reduce pain in the lower back, shoulders, and neck. To answer that question, you need to consider physical activity recommendations by reputable organizations.
This is a useful guide since kettlebellswings are a combination of aerobic workouts and weight training. This gives you at least one rest day for your muscles to recover and avoid injuries.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind.